NZ Organic Wine Awards: 'Sustainable Vineyard of the Year 2024' plus 2 Gold and 2 Silver Medals. Full details

Two Paddocks

Everyone wants to drink Sam Neill's wine. After the launch of the debut 1997 vintage of Two Paddocks Pinot Noir, José Hernandez, of Neill's New Zealand distributor, Eurowine, wished he "had 2500 cases rather than 250 cases to sell."

A popular down-to-earth member of the Central Otago wine community, Neill is acclaimed for his roles in such films as The Piano, and the Jurassic Park series. His father, a general merchant who imported wines and spirits through his Dunedin-based company, Neill and Co., early sensed Central Otago's wine potential. "Dad would say, 'People should be growing grapes here. It's just like the Rhine, just like Burgundy!"

After building his Ian Athfield-designed house on a hilltop over looking the Wakatipu Basin, Neill was inspired in the early 1990s by Rippon Vineyard's really astonishing Pinot Noirs. "That's what made me think, well, bugger it, if Rolfe (Mills) can do it I can too."

In 1993, the first vines sank root in Neill's Two Paddocks vineyard in the Gibbston Back Road. Since then, planting has spread to the Last Chance and Redbank Paddocks, both at Earnscleugh, near Alexandra.

The wine is made at the Central Otago Wine Company (COWCo) in Cromwell, in which Neill is a shareholder. After the tragic death of winemaker Mike Wolter, Two Paddocks Pinot Noir has been made by Rudi Bauer and since 1999, Dean Shaw. The initial Pinot Noirs were good but nothing outstanding, but the 1999, 2000 and 2001 vintages are finely scented, with strong sweet cherry and plum flavours, savoury, spicy complexities and a firm tannin underlay.

"If there's one thing I've learnt about winemaking," says Neill, "it's not something that one's ever going to make any money out of. But, while I'm still in work elsewhere, that doesn't really worry me as long as it pays for itself. The bonus is how much fun and satisfaction we get out of it and it's a tremendous kick"

Michael Cooper's Wine Atlas of New Zealand has a recommended retail price of NZ$125 and is widely available in retail in New Zealand. It will be a welcome addition to any wine lover's library. Published by Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Limited, Auckland. © Copyright Moa Beckett Publishers Limited. Posted with the permission of the publisher.

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+64 3 449 2756

PO Box 506
Alexandra 9340
Central Otago
New Zealand


Sale of Liquor License Ref: OF129
Licence No. 67/OFF/30/2022
Expires 24th August 2025

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